This briefing is the first in a series providing a quick guide to early childhood education and care (ECEC). It introduces the concept of ECEC, sets out evidence for different approaches to ECEC and relates this to current policy in Wales. It has been produced for the Assembly’s Research Service as part of the Academic Fellowship Scheme to support Assembly Members in their scrutiny of the provision of ECEC. The Research Service acknowledges the support of Bangor University that enabled Dr Dallimore to take part in this fellowship.